Pizza On The Grill by Elizabeth Karmel and Bob Blumer
This is one amazing book! So glossy and delicious! I LOVE this book, but then again, I love every cookbook I do a review on! Even though I'm not going to do a book review just yet, I did want to show you the pizza we've been experimenting with lately. I made this pizza a couple of times now and each time it comes out more delicious and totally addictive! (I'm not making their pizza right now. I'm kind of winging it, and with good results I might add!)
Pizza on the Grill is so easy it's almost effortless. I don't know why I didn't think of this before! It seemed like second nature to me, just another way of simplifying dinnertime. This may be the only way I ever make pizza again! In fact, there is no reason to ever heat up your kitchen again, unless of course it's the dead of winter and you want that extra coziness. It's also going to be the way I entertain friends from now on. Be warned! If I invite you down to the boat, I'll probably be serving Pizza on the Grill for dinner!
Sauce and Dough and Veggies Oh My!
As most of you know, we live on our sailboat. We don't have a backyard with a deck and a grill like most of you do. It takes a little more planning on my part to make this thing happen. There are gas grills at the top of the dock, which means I have to have EVERYTHING ready before we head out. Other than the dough, the pizza has to be prepared at the grill, so I had to bring everything with me in little bowls, bags and containers. A knife, large fork, a pair of tongs, cutting board, spatula, spoons for the sauce and veggies, paper towel, wine, corkscrew and glasses. Oh, and the camera too! Dough, sauce, cheeses, toppings, salt, pesto, pepperoni, etc. All this had to be mobile. I'm real good about organizing so we don't have to make a second trip back down to the boat.
I didn't make my own dough. I cheated and bought an excellent dough from the gourmet market in town. It comes from Federal Hill Pizza Company. One whole wheat and one white made 2 large pizzas. My Microplane grater made mounds and mounds of fluffy grated parmesan cheese! I also had a ball of fresh mozzarella to go with it. A jar of good sauce, sauteed onions, red pepper and mushrooms. Sliced green olives stuffed with feta cheese gave the pizza just the right amount of saltiness. A sprinkle of Mrs. Dash and salt and the most wonderful chopped fresh basil leaves were the finishing touches.
2005 Banfi Chianti Classico
The first night, I paired this pizza with a nice bottle of 2005 Banfi Chianti Classico red wine. Oh man, was that an excellent wine! Especially with pizza! (The second time around, we had a 2004 Mad Fish Shiraz. But that's another story!) It was a rich, ruby red wine made from Sangiovese grapes. We opened the bottle as soon as the first pizza hit the grill. Swirl the glass, sniff, stuck our noses right in and breathed in the aromas of cherries and plums. Then we took a sip and swished it around in our mouths, pulling in some air across our tongues. Swallow. Boy, did that go down good. Take in some more air. WOW! OK, now I want a full glass! The first pizza was done and we had our second glass with it. Something changed when we took our first bite of that awesome pizza. The wine was different, more balanced and it complemented the pizza. We've had Chianti Classico before with pasta, but never with pizza. Somehow, it never occurred to me to have wine with pizza. Most people think of pairing their pizza with beer, which is fine. And even though I like a dark hearty beer, the combination of wine and pizza was out of this world!
Our dock mates had to pass right by our little outdoor Italian pizzeria as they wandered back to their boats. There were lots of oohs and ahhs, and what is that? You could smell those pizzas grilling all the way across the marina. I think we tempted more than a few people that night! Most of them had never heard of Pizza on the Grill before. We raised some eyebrows and I think we'll see more grills fired up as the summer wears on!
As we stood at the head of the dock, glass in one hand and pizza in the other, we watched the sun start to slip away. As it dipped ever so slowly, it reflected across the water and hit the masts of all the sailboats in the marina. It was a magical sight to behold!
The book Pizza On The Grill has 100 different recipes to choose from. After I read the general How-To's, I came up with my own version. (NOTE: This is not their recipe, nor their directions. Just my experience.)
- 1 ball of good pizza dough, white or wheat
- 1-2 Tbsp cornmeal
- 2 Tbsp Olive oil, virgin or flavored
- 1 cup pizza or spaghetti sauce, homemade or bottled
- Assorted toppings; pepperoni, sliced tomatoes, olives, roasted red peppers, marinated artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, sauteed onions, peppers, mushrooms, etc, etc, etc.
- 1 to 1 1/2 cup shredded or sliced cheese, mozzarella, parmesan, etc
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped or whole
- 1/2 tsp Mrs Dash, optional
- Sprinkle of salt, optional
- Slice and saute any veggies you need before you start working with your dough.
- Preheat your gas grill on high for 10-15 minutes.
- After preheating, lower the temperature.
- Sprinkle a cutting board or counter with cornmeal or flour.
- Work the dough by stretching, rolling or pressing it without tearing, into the size needed to fit your grill, or whatever size you want.
- Using a pastry brush or your hands, spread olive oil over the dough. Flip over and brush the other side.
- Bring everything to the grill.
- Pour yourself a glass of Chianti.
- I like to put my dough on a big piece of foil. That way, it stays in one piece when you transfer it to the grill.
- With one quick motion, flip the dough upside down on the grill and peel off the foil.
- Close the lid and grill for approximately 3-4 minutes. Make sure it doesn't burn. You want those nice grill marks on the bottom!
- Transfer to cutting board, grilled side up and add sauce, toppings, cheese and sprinkle with seasonings.
- Turn one of the two grill burners off. Place pizza back on the grill, cover and grill for another 10 minutes or so, until the cheese is melted and bubbly and bottom is browned and cooked through. If the bottom starts to cook faster than you expected, turn the pizza around or move it to another spot.
- Remove to cutting board, slice and serve with a second glass of Chianti!
- Serves the two of us, but it should serve four!